Christmas Blahs! Help!

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This is my 3rd Christmas with my Mom living with us and having dementia. I have always been a Christmas doer, shopping, baking, music, decorating, etc. So for the past 3 years, it gets less and less. It is already the 10th of December and I have no tree up, the mantle isn't decorated, nor the windows and the Christmas cards aren't even made out yet. I want to get the tree up and my decorations out so my Mom can enjoy them, but it's just not happening. She doesn't allow me out of her sight and watches every move that I make and hides behind a newspaper and peeps at me all her waking hours. This makes it almost impossible to get into the Christmas spirit. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas to help get me out of the blahs?? Thanks so much!


I used to get this way when my mother was ill. She wasn't living with us, but I think my general mood was not into it. Of course, that is one of those things that once you start decorating, you do feel better. Does your mom go to bed at a decent hour? Maybe you can do some decorating while she is sleeping, so she will be surprised in the morning. Or, get someone to sit with your Mom while you do the decorating. Is there anyone who can come help? It would go so much faster, and would be more fun with people around.
Thanks for your kind words! I tried getting the Christmas tree and my decorations out to decorate and she totally ignored me. She was busy with that newspaper that she peeps from behind to see what is going on and I am beginning to wonder if she even realizes it is Christmas, which makes it more depressing. I am looking for my tree top at the present time and I guess I wore myself out trying to entertain her to no avail! LOL! I will try again tomorrow. She doesn't want anyone around, but us. She does go to bed pretty early, that is unless you want her to or you need to do some stuff and don't want to tell her every move you are making and what for. I am going to try your advice of decorating while she is asleep and see if she says anything when she gets up. That way I will know if she understands that it is the Christmas season. Her dementia progresses daily and it is very noticeable. Thanks for your help and I hope that you have a blessed Christmas!
Dementia is a very, very cruel disease to those who have it and to those who love them. My heart goes out to you.

First, try to decide in your own mind how much of the usual Christmas activities you really want to do this year. Discard the things that you think you SHOULD want but which really don't feel right this year. If you don't do Christmas cards this year, maybe you can do Valentine cards instead, and surprise everyone. Or just skip it and resume next year if you feel like it then. Or maybe shopping feels too overwhelming this year. Sit down at the computer and order things from Amazon! What I'm suggesting is that you simplify your life just this year by concentrating on the things that are most important to you.

Then, change your expectations for your mother. She has dementia. She can't help it. Maybe she'll wake up and be thrilled with the holiday decorations on the mantle; maybe she won't even notice; maybe she'll notice and think you are crazy because it can't possibly be Christmas season in her mind. Do whatever you are going to do for your own pleasure. If Mom also gets pleasure from it that is a bonus.

She totally ignored you when you were getting out the decorations. That sounds like a good thing to me. Let her sit in the kitchen and ignore you behind her newspaper while you bake. Trying to entertain her is futile. Give it up. Be glad she is safe and within your attention range, and roll out another batch of stars and trees! Put some Bing Crosby on the CD player!

If it is hard to get into the Christmas spirit with her sitting there behind the newspaper, perhaps you could adjust your definition of the spirit a little. Being able to care for an impaired person you love should count in there somewhere.

This is a cruel disease, and no more cruel than at holiday times. My heart goes out to you. Taking care of someone afflicted with this disease is an awesome, generous action. I hope you can find some Christmas spirit to enjoy this year.

Oh, thank you so much! You have already made me feel more festive. You always have kind words when everyone needs them. I have read previous comments you have made to folks and you even made me feel better when I was reading it. Thanks for your encouragement. I have half the tree up (can't find my top part, LOL) and am getting reading to address Christmas cards. It's supposed to snow tonight and tomorrow, so that should put me in more spirits. These comments just make me feel so much better, having someone to chit-chat with means a lot. May your Christmas be blessed.
Just her following her around gets you tired doesnt it? My mom does this to me all day, every day, and she is not really any more demented than when she was 40! My lights are not all up on the tree along with most of my ornaments this year either. That and the fact I have my teens who really are not into Xmas anymore. Its a tough one, I put on Christmas music to try to get my in the mood, you can try that..and see if mom wants to get silly and sing with you! My mom will sing if I start. Also try putting on some old classics for her to watch with you on DVD player. I have a dish, so I can get like "Its a wonderful life" on demand. This may get her from watching you to watching the movie and maybe have her share some memories, if she has any, about what was going on the first time she saw the movie. I hope this helps! Happy Holidays to you and yours.
I agree with ElderlyandADHD. Sharing memories is so important with this disease. My mom is in an assisted living facility and once a month they have a therapist who comes in and does Reminiscent Therapy with them. My mom will tell me over and over again what each person said in the group and what she said; she gets very animated and laughs a lot. She really loves going back in time; it's where she is comfortable as new memories don't stick.
You are suffering from daily blah,not Christmas blah,I am sole caregiver for my wife who suffers from Progressive supernuclear palsy,a long term ALS ,we have not had a tree or any decor for the past 3 years...the daily care has taken everything over ,unless you are in the situation no advice can really apply,hopefully there are no small children,what keeps me going are photos of our life before this situation,our fridge and walls all have the memories but really that is the person you are helping beyond expectations,not the poor lady trying to make an already difficult life even harder,if you can, listen to the song THE CHRISTMAS GUEST ,which is on the day at a time !! remember Christmas is someone,s birthday,not necessary to add stress to your life,thinking of you !
I just wanted to say - these are all wonderful comments. I just love this website and the people on it. I don't live with my mom but every year since my dad died it has been a struggle at Christmas. She wants nothing to do with it, saying it just makes her feel tired. Finally this year I found a place where Mom was happy. I put up a tiny tree with tiny white lights that can stay on all night. I decorated the mantle with white sparkling lights and my sister put up a lighted church on her kitchen counter. We decorated one window with small lights and put a beautiful wreath on the front door, one container of cinammon scent. Every day I go over and she has all the lights going - she keeps them on all night and all day. I think it cheers her up since she wakes up all times of the night and is very safe. We may leave them up all year. For some reason it worked not to do too much. Perhaps mine is a special case. Your mother is very lucky to have you.
Chloe, do you have a friend that could come over and help you get ready for Christmas? I was thinking that a friendly voice and some laughter while you bake cookies might be the ticket. Warn your mother that someone is coming over, so she can stay clear for while if she wants. Just a thought. :)
Last year my mom attended my Christmas gathering at my house. This year mom is at the NH. My intentions were to have her over. My concern now is that she is due for a vertroplasty due to a fracture and hasn't walked in a month since her pain started. The pain does not seem to be there as much as it was 4 wks ago. My plan is to have my daughters and any family member to join in a separate Christmas celebration earlier on Christmas day or evening at the nursing home. Instead of being concern of her at my home. I just feel so much better knowing she is in her wheelchair and safer. It may be easier for her to adjust. Any suggestions. I don't want to sound selfish, I am just making it easier on my guests and myself when I have the house full of people .

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